Set in the early 1990s on a British army base, 4 a.m. tells the story of Cal and Manny, soldiers posted to Germany as army chefs. Bored and institutionalised, the pair soon succumb to the neon temptations of Hamburg's red-light district, where they dive into a seedy world of recreational drugs and all-night raves. But it is only a matter of time before hedonism and military discipline clash head on, with comic and poignant consequences. Life-affirming raving soon gives way to gloomy, drug-fuelled nights in fast food restaurants, at sex shows, and in Turkish dive bars. As a succession of events ratchets up the pressure on Cal and Manny their friendship is tested, a secret is revealed, and a shocking betrayal changes one of their lives forever. 4 a.m. depicts life in a peacetime Army and a civilian world in which conflict is never far away. Driven by two distinctive voices, and written in a lively and buzzing style, Nina de la Mer's début novel holds a mirror up to youth culture at the end of the twentieth century. The reflection is not always a flattering one.
Nina de la Mer is a Scottish writer of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel 4AM, shortlisted for the Writers' Retreat Competition, was published in 2011. In 2012, she received an Arts Council Grant to write her second novel, LAYLA. Telling of seven days in the life of a reluctant lap dancer, the novel was published in February 2014.
June 2014! NEWS! PLEASE VOTE FOR LAYLA IN THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE!
Layla has been selected as a contender for the summer round of the People's Book Prize. If you've read and enjoyed the novel, you can vote for LAYLA by following the link below. Thank you!